Did President Trump go too far with his Nordstrom tweet?

Discussion
Photo: Ali Shaker/VOA; Tweet: @realDonaldTrump
Feb 09, 2017

Donald Trump took to Twitter yesterday to call out Nordstrom for making the decision to delist his daughter Ivanka’s line of clothing from its stores and website.

Mr. Trump tweeted, “My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom. She is a great person — always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!”

The president failed to explain how Nordstrom’s decision was unfair, but White House press secretary Sean Spicer said at a news briefing that Ms. Trump’s brand was being “targeted” because of opposition to her father.

While some interpreted Mr. Spicer’s remarks as a condemnation of Nordstrom, it’s possible he may have been referring to the “Grab Your Wallet” boycott of Trump brand products. The boycott was launched last year after an “Access Hollywood” video went public in which Mr. Trump was recorded speaking about women in demeaning terms.

Even if the latter explanation of Mr. Spicer’s comments were true, is he saying Nordstrom should stock Ms. Trump’s brand even if it is not selling?

Last November, a Nordstrom e-mail obtained by Fortune explained that the retailer had customers who wanted Ms. Trump’s line discontinued while others urged Nordstrom to continue selling the brand. Nordstrom’s e-mail offered its bottom line on the matter: “Every single brand we offer is evaluated on their results — if people don’t buy it, we won’t sell it.”

Yesterday, Nordstrom issued the following statement: “Over the past year, and particularly in the last half of 2016, sales of the brand have steadily declined to the point where it didn’t make good business sense for us to continue with the line for now. We’ve had a great relationship with the Ivanka Trump team. We’ve had open conversations with them over the past year to share what we’ve seen and Ivanka was personally informed of our decision in early January.”

Nordstrom is not alone in recently delisting Ms. Trump’s brands. Belk, Neiman Marcus, Jet.com and ShopStyle have done the same, according to Fast Company. Macy’s delisted then-candidate Trump’s line of shirts and ties in 2015 shortly after he made remarks interpreted as disparaging of Mexican immigrants.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What is your reaction to Donald Trump’s criticism of Nordstrom for delisting Ivanka Trump products? Should advocate groups such as the National Retail Federation and Retail Industry Leaders Association and other retailers make public statements supportive of Nordstrom and/or critical of the president?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"This continuous stream of demeaning tweets is neither presidential nor reflective of key issues that confront this country."
"Retail and consumer spending are critical to our economy and if there is any force that can remain steadfast and even push back, it’s retail."
"What is clear is that brand loyalty will be either reinforced or eroded through increasingly political forces."

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33 Comments on "Did President Trump go too far with his Nordstrom tweet?"


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Jon Polin
Guest

Um, is this not clearly why a president of the U.S. should disengage from his/her (and his/her family’s) business activities? As a citizen, I don’t care for the president to be distracted by what Nordstrom did or didn’t do to his daughter’s clothing line. And taking to Twitter to voice the concern to the American people? Yes, I’ll just say that the message is problematic and the medium is wrong and stop here. Boy am I excited to see other reactions to this question.

David Livingston
Guest
5 years 4 months ago

President’s relatives cashing in and trying to sell products used to be funny. Like Billy Beer. Now its political. Perhaps the president’s daughter should become a Democrat for marketing purposes. Being at odds with the father president seemed to boost Patti Reagan’s appeal.

Lyle Bunn (Ph.D. Hon)
Guest

Last week at the FFWD conference in Toronto, Jason Goldberg, SVP of commerce and content practice at SapientRazorfish illustrated his point that “The playbook for the enabled consumer is still being written” using the example “We were taught to not talk to strangers and to never get into a stranger’s car. Now we have UBER!” The President raises a dozen different questions about behavior.

Consumers at the same time are determining what they will believe, and Goldberg urged brands to focus on four areas of engagement including transparency, trust, social proof (i.e., ratings, reviews) and absolute value (i.e., tangible data reflecting performance).

Cathy Hotka
BrainTrust

Business is business. If the product isn’t selling, you remove it from your stores, and no late-night Tweet from the dad of the face of the brand can change that. The man who lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue should get back to work.

Chuck Palmer
BrainTrust

From what I understand, it wasn’t late night, it was at 10:50 a.m. during a security briefing. So, yeah.

Mark Ryski
BrainTrust

As Donald Trump citizen, no problem; as president of the United States, inappropriate. As a seasoned and successful executive, I’m sure Ivanka is more than capable of defending herself and her business interests.

Bob Amster
BrainTrust

Do we really want to go there in this forum? What is my reaction to Donald Trump, period?

Meaghan Brophy
BrainTrust
Meaghan Brophy
Senior Retail Writer
5 years 4 months ago

It is absolutely an abuse of power for President Trump to denounce Nordstrom. Legally he is navigating murky waters when he endorses or denounces businesses for personal reasons, especially when family financials and personal gain are involved. However, if anything President Trump’s tweets against Nordstrom have helped the brand more than hurt it. Nordstrom’s stocks are going up and there are many groups on social media encouraging its members to show support by shopping at Nordstrom. NRF or RILA could issue a statement supporting Nordstrom, but I don’t think it would make much of a difference.

Richard J. George, Ph.D.
BrainTrust

Unfortunately, the President can not get out of his own tweeting way. This continuous stream of demeaning tweets is neither presidential nor reflective of key issues that confront this country. I recommend someone take away his phone or at least restrict his late night tweeting. He needs to act like the President of the U.S., not the president of Trump Enterprises or the host of Celebrity Apprentice.

Ian Percy
BrainTrust

I was going to wait to see what level of political innuendo would be tolerated here on RetailWire — but what the heck. I noticed that Jon was able to “stop here” so maybe I can be as wise.

“Gone too far” can be applied on so many levels. With immigrants. With the disparagement of science, the environment, judicial system, financial de-regulation. With his career. This Nordstrom incident is beyond the pale, totally inappropriate. Let me be clear this has nothing to do with Republican-ism or with the Office of the President. It is 100 percent related to the man himself.

And, as we’re seeing, the explanation from Nordstrom reveals a rapidly fading brand at least as far as clothing goes. Bad.

Lee Kent
Guest

Regardless of what Nordstrom says the reason for disengaging with the line is, the timing is everything. It sure looks and feels more like a lash out at the President. And let me just add that if I were President and had a child who was already a brand and was treated like that, I too would likely say “why are you treating my child like this? She didn’t do anything wrong. Don’t take your dislike for me out on her.” It does not mean that he is still engaged in his previous business activities. It means he’s a dad!

As much as I have always loved Nordstrom, this one doesn’t smell so innocent. Timing says a lot.

For my 2 cents.

Paula Rosenblum
BrainTrust

Square footage in stores and D.C.’s is valuable. If it doesn’t sell, it’s out.

Worse, he a.) singled out Nordstrom and b.) retweeted from the official POTUS account. I think it’s a litigation waiting to happen.

It’s also incredibly embarrassing to me as an American.

John Hyman
Guest
5 years 4 months ago

“If it doesn’t sell, it’s out.” — Best quote of the day!

Ricardo Belmar
BrainTrust
Ricardo Belmar
Retail Transformation Thought Leader, Advisor, & Strategist
5 years 4 months ago

Last time I checked, Nordstrom is a business. I hear that Mr. Trump has some familiarity with this concept. A business has to make money to survive and that means selling products that actually sell vs take up inventory. Has nothing to do with being fair or unfair.

Paula got it so right: “If it doesn’t sell, it’s out.”

Doesn’t get any simpler than that!

Jasmine Glasheen
BrainTrust
Jasmine Glasheen
Content Marketing Manager, Surefront
5 years 4 months ago

I’m also under the impression that he tweeted 21 minutes after his daily intelligence briefing was to take place.

Roger Saunders
Guest
It is understandable that a father and mother would defend their offspring. Donald Trump’s position as U.S. President places him in a role where he would do well to defend his children in a different manner than a tweet. His adult children would do well to help the President understand that he is not helping their cause and credibility in the retail marketplace. For those on opposing sides choosing to pull a “boycott” against a retailer to send a message to the father … get a life. No need for the NRF to enter this fray. Peter Nordstrom clearly and productively pointed out the reason to discontinue the Ivanka Trump line. He stated, “All merchandise lines are evaluated on an ongoing basis. The bottom 10 percent of merchandise that impacts revenue/profitability, is discontinued each year.” That permits a new assortment to replenish it. Retailers, like Nordstrom, are attempting to satisfy consumer needs, support their associates’ interest in building loyalty with quality merchandise to help those consumers, provide consumers with quality, selection, service, convenience and a… Read more »
Max Goldberg
Guest

Trump has gone too far in his criticism of Nordstrom, demonstrating why traditionally presidents and their immediate families step away from any potential commercial entanglements before they assume office. Trump is emotionally unfit to be president and demeans the office with his Twitter rants.

Jasmine Glasheen
BrainTrust
Jasmine Glasheen
Content Marketing Manager, Surefront
5 years 4 months ago

To say Ivanka was “treated unfairly” is ludicrous. She was a huge part of Trump’s campaign and she and her husband continue to reap the benefits of her father’s presidency.

Nordstrom pulled Ivanka Trump’s line relatively late in the game for consumers influenced by #grabyourwallet. Still, Trump’s tantrum proves the #grabyourwallet movement successful. The American people are making their voices heard.

Should the NRF and Retail Industry Leaders Association make public statements on Nordstom pulling the Trump line? Donald Trump’s proposed immigration and import policies pose a huge threat to the retail industry. We depend on international trade. The more relationships Trump severs, the more difficult it will be for retailers to maintain their businesses.

Anne Howe
Guest

This issue should have been addressed ONLY by the business team that is now running the Ivanka brand and the retailer team responsible for the business decision. If I were Ivanka I’d be mad at Dad for butting in. This family is supposed to be business savvy, after all.

George Anderson
Staff

Nordstrom has been clear that its decision was based on the performance of Ivanka Trump’s brand alone and not a matter of politics. Other retailers, as noted in the article, have also delisted Ms. Trump’s products for the same reason.

As a candidate and now elected official, Mr. Trump has continually maintained that he will be the best jobs president ever. Does turning supporters against a particular company because of a perceived slight accomplish that goal or could it potentially put jobs at risk? What of the shareholders, particularly individual investors, who could be hurt by a downturn in the stock price?

Recent GOP economic orthodoxy has held that the government should not put itself in the position to determine winners and losers among industries or specific companies operating in the U.S. It has dragged out this argument often, for example, when it comes to the renewable versus fossil fuels debate. While Mr. Trump’s fatherly instincts may be understandable in this instance, they are also misplaced considering his position in the world.

J. Peter Deeb
Guest

My question is, if Ivanka Trump was notified in early January why is this coming out now? Did she not have a discussion with the President about the issue at that time? I would hope that all the companies that discontinued the line gave her people the facts about sales rate including Nordstrom. Most businesses deal in fact when it comes to product velocity. The waters are muddy my friends!

Tom Dougherty
Guest

Nordstrom got a bigger boost from POTUS than they could from any advertising.

Chuck Palmer
BrainTrust

Given that retail is, I don’t know, a hugely big thing (sorry, I’m still working on my Trump-speak) to our economy and this guy claims to be a business man, this is nothing more than another example of who he is.

It is not about his being a “dad.” That’s just communications office back-fill BS.

I would hope the NRF and Retail Industry Leaders Association make public statements and apply their lobbying muscle to push back. This won’t be the last time and they need to leverage their stance.

Retail and consumer spending are critical to our economy and if there is any force that can remain steadfast and even push back, it’s retail.

Naomi K. Shapiro
Guest

Mr. Trump is the President.

Mr. Trump has a daughter.

If he feels that his daughter was slighted (even wrongly), can’t he express himself on this? Or just not through a president’s channels? It’s not fair to say that he, as President shouldn’t be able to express himself at all. And that, as Trump supporters and detractors alike will have to agree: that’s what makes Trump, Trump.